Pep Talks #3 Youth Player Development: 1v1 ISO or Passing skills? Part 1…

Youth Player Development: 1v1 ISO or Passing skills? Part 1…

Preseason out it Spain with the U14s led to yet another thought provoking game, however, unlike the U10s game mentioned in the previous post, I didn’t leave the game in two minds. I felt confident in that the club I was working at was taking the most beneficial approach to youth level development: an emphasis on 1v1 skills over passing skills. Let me explain…

This preseason game showed that the approach taken by both teams was dynamic at both ends of the floor. Both teams picked up full court, took an aggressive approach to defence by turning ball handlers, trapping from the blind side, jumping passing lanes, and attacking the ball. Both ourselves and our opponents liked to fast break, with a classic D’antoni-esque “ seven seconds or less” mindset. This is the point the development approach from the two clubs took different paths.

The difference stuck out like a sore thumb both during the application of full-court defense and when the shot clock was ticking down (yes a shot clock at U14, crazy right??). Our team played 1v1 with the dribble, however, our opponents hardly dribbled the ball. 

We tended to clear out and let anyone who could handle the ball bring the ball up court and please note that this was not limited to guards. It was also clear that they were not used to playing 1v1 in practice as they were unable to slow the ball and keep us from creating advantages anywhere on the floor.

Although our team were also great at taking risks and picking off passes, we did, however, struggle to cope after any missed shot from during a half court situation, and when we pressured them full court, our opponents were gone!!! How did they break the pressure I hear you ask???

Our Opponents Approach to Press Breaking

Ball is in the back court corner after an inbound pass. Two cuts from the weak side side line to the ball side sideline.

During the press, we were broken with simple passes/cuts. When the first cut was made, the ball was only in the receivers hands for a second.  The off ball players were reading passes and their defenders positioning to make an effective cut while the ball was in mid air, BEFORE their team mate caught the ball

Our opponents would look for spots on the floor to receive the ball and by the time our defenders were close to recovering, the ball was gone. Their preferred method was lots of ‘touch passes’ and ‘no look passes’ with great foot work when receiving the ball that helped to control the body.

Our opponents sound great right? Check out part two to discover why I think this approach will only take players so far…

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